At least 27 dead in Portuguese wildfires

Around 520 wildfires were recorded in northern and central Portugal on Sunday

At least 27 dead in Portuguese wildfires

Volunteers use a water hose to fight a wild fire raging near houses in the outskirts of Obidos, Portugal, 16-10-2017. Image: Armando Franca/AP/Press Association Images

At least 27 people have died in Portugal since Sunday after parts of the country were ravaged by wildfires.

Around 520 wildfires were recorded in northern and central Portugal on Sunday, fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds from Storm Ophelia in the Atlantic Ocean.

Civil Protection officials said 145 blazes were still going on Monday as a state of emergency was declared in all regions north of the Tagus river, an area roughly half of the entire country.

More than 4,000 fire-fighters are battling 20 of the blazes, which are described as 'major.'

Arsonists are being blamed for around 20 fires in the Galicia region of northwest Spain, which borders Portugal.

A wild fire burns near Gondomar, Pontevedra, in the north-western Spanish region of Galicia, Spain, 16-10-2017. Image: AP Photo/Alba Sotelo

At least three people have died and authorities have evacuated thousands more after fires fanned by winds of up to 90kmh (55mph) caused by Storm Ophelia.

"They are absolutely intentional fires, premeditated, caused by people who know what they are doing," said Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the head of the Galicia regional government.

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said in a tweet that "several people have been identified in connection to the fires in Galicia."

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he's going to visit the area, which is his native region.

He tweeted: "I'm heading to Galicia. Solidarity of all Spain and prompt coordination to combat the fire and assist people."

Two people were killed when they were trapped by flames in a van in Chandebrito, north-western Spain.

Portuguese Civil Protection Agency spokeswoman Patricia Gaspar said 51 people are injured, 15 seriously in the fires there, while an unconfirmed number of people are missing.

Gaspar said the fires that broke out on Sunday were caused by "higher than average temperatures for the season and the cumulative effect of drought, which has been felt since the start of the year."

She added that cooler, wetter weather is on the way.

Portugal has been hit especially hard by wildfires this year, with 64 people dying in one fire in June.